Plastic surgery is on the rise among Gen Z, here's why

15 May,2023 09:46 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Ainie Rizvi

Priyanka Chopra Jonas opens up about ‘deep depression’ due to a botched rhinoplasty. Experts reveal why more Gen Z and boomers want to change their look and share a rundown to approach plastic surgeries in an informed manner

About 1,53,317 face and body aesthetic surgeries have been performed in India annually. Photo courtesy: iStock

Recently Priyanka Chopra Jonas confessed about her botched plastic surgery on the nose. In the episode of The Howard Stern Show, she revealed that the surgery did more harm than good throwing her into a dark phase. To top the sloppy job, she got fired from three different movies due to the massive change in her facial features. "I thought my career was over before it started", disclosed the Citadel star.

Face and body sculpting procedures are on the rise as more and more young people begin to embrace surgical knives and needles. Liposuction, breast augmentation, and facial surgeries are some of the most sought-after cosmetic procedures by Gen Z as per The Global Survey on Aesthetic Procedures in the year 2023. Most people seek these surgeries to attain the best version of themselves. However, plastic surgeries don't always turn out the way people imagine them to.

Seeking cosmetic treatments to enhance appearance requires a thorough analysis. To understand the complexities of plastic surgeries, reached out to Dr Nilesh G Satbhai, head of the department, reconstructive microsurgery and transplant surgery, Global Hospitals, Mumbai.

Here are the edited excerpts from the interview:

Why is Gen Z opting for plastic surgeries?
We are constantly under the lens of self-scrutiny. The number of people opting for plastic surgery is increasing as the days go by. The obvious reason for this is the increased awareness and education in the society. As the longevity and affluence of society increase, more of young people want to opt for self-improvement without feeling apologetic for their desires.

The onslaught of social media has also increased awareness even further as people begin to compare appearances. This attitude is moulding Gen Z and baby boomers to reassess their looks and align them with globally accepted beauty standards.

The name ‘Plastic Surgery' is ambiguous, as it does not depict any specific organ or body system. The name is derived from the Greek word ‘Plastikos'. It is referred to as a problem-solving specialty. Plastic surgeons deal with a vast majority of problems and conditions ranging from head to toe. Such procedures are a set of highly refined surgical principles which are applied in diverse situations to improve the aesthetic value of how one looks.

It is like any other surgery. At the same, it is different from routine surgery, as it involves meticulous planning and execution to achieve desired outcomes with minimal or invisible scars. Plastic surgery is broadly classified into reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery. Reconstructive Surgery aims to restore normalcy while cosmetic surgery aims to enhance the current look of a body part.

What are the commonest plastic surgeries for the face and body that people opt for?
Eyelid correction (blepharoplasty), facelift, lip correction or augmentation, and autologous fat transfer are some of the commonest cosmetic surgeries sought by the new generation. In addition to these, botox, fillers, lasers, and peels are also common facial aesthetic procedures performed on young people.

Liposuction, which involves the removal of unwanted fat from different parts of the body is one the most sought-after procedure for youth on the heavier side. It is often difficult to lose the belly fat, fate in the flanks (love handles), the bra strap rolls, double chin, etc. These areas can be effectively treated with liposuction. A tummy tuck is also an effective way of getting back in shape after childbirth. The Kardashian sisters underwent liposuction procedures which sparked a reaction among Gen Z and Boomers. They not only accepted it but also got inspired and underwent knife comfortably.

Another common cosmetic revival requests the doctors get is for breast augmentation or reduction. The younger generation is growingly insecure about how they look and wants to level up with the global beauty standards. These procedures can have the most dramatic impact on their personal or social life. Body contouring procedures such as arm lifts, thigh lifts, buttock lifts, or augmentation can make very significant changes in somebody's ability to participate in outdoor or sports activities. Rhinoplasty (nose job) is another challenging surgery that many people opt for. The possibilities of cosmetic surgery are endless and it is ultimately a matter of individual choice.

What is the difference between cosmetic and plastic surgery?
Cosmetic surgery is essentially a sub-specialty of plastic surgery. It involves the improvement and beautification of the existing normal. Cosmetic surgery also involves the same plastic surgery principles to achieve the desired outcomes. Whether it is the improvement of the facial appearance and features such as eyes or nose, augmentation or reduction of the breasts, losing unwanted fat, or adding fat to the desired areas, cosmetic surgery can offer solutions to all of these and many more bodily aspirations.

Who is a good candidate for plastic surgery?
Cosmetic or plastic surgery is a matter of personal choice and preference. What this implies is that it is purely elective surgery and has to be performed wisely on the right patient at the right time. A good candidate for cosmetic surgery is one with good overall physical health. It is extremely important to optimise any other medical condition before performing elective cosmetic surgery.

One of the most important factors for a safe surgery with a successful outcome is a sane patient, who is mentally and psychologically stable and has realistic expectations.

What are the medical risks involved with cosmetic surgery?
The risks in cosmetic surgery are wide like any other surgery. Sometimes cosmetic surgeries may go wrong and the patient can end up with scarring, blood clots, blood loss, fluid build-up, and infections. The deeper risks involved are nerve damage leading to neuropathy. Hence, it is important to have detailed investigations and screening before any surgery to stratify the risk and prevent any complications and untoward events.

What is the essential checklist one must have before signing up for plastic surgery?
It is important to understand the technical complexities of every surgical procedure, the recovery time, the risks and complications, and the expected results or outcomes, before deciding to go ahead with the surgery. Most importantly, it is crucial to check the credentials of the treating doctor before going under the knife.

It is also very vital to check the infrastructure, equipment, and manpower standards of the treatment setup, to make sure it is capable of handling any unforeseen complications. Another crucial aspect is to have clarity and level-headedness regarding the treatment one seeks. Treatment cost is a less important factor in this decision-making.

Before signing up for a cosmetic procedure, ask your surgeon:

1. How many of these procedures they've done

2. What qualifications and training do they have

3. If they're a member of a relevant professional association

4. Ask about the most common complications of the procedure

5. What aftercare you can expect and who will look after you

6. What to do if something goes wrong or you're not happy with the result

7. How much it'll cost, and if it'll cost extra to have further treatment if needed

Why do plastic surgeries go wrong? What is the percentage of surgeries that go wrong?
The main reason why cosmetic surgeries go wrong is due to untrained or undertrained individuals performing cosmetic surgery at compromised set-ups. The patients have to do their research and choose wisely. The lack of proper regulations has resulted in several non-plastic surgeons boldly venturing into cosmetic surgery. The unaware patient who falls into their cost trap ends up paying a huge price in the form of poor outcomes and at times life.

Like every other situation in life, complications are an essential part of every medical or surgical procedure. The magnitude of the risk factor may vary based on several factors. All we can do is assess every situation with utmost precaution and care and take appropriate steps to control the risk factors. All this can be done only by well-trained and ethical professionals.

How difficult is it to fix a botched plastic surgery? What can one do in this case?
It is extremely difficult to fix botched plastic surgery. But there is always hope and scope for improvement. The first chance is always the best one. Hence a thoughtful decision always goes a long way to avoid future regrets.

It is important to harbour patience to let the body heal. Nature often takes the best course of healing. It is always helpful to take an opinion and advice from a rightly qualified professional to find solutions for difficult problems and complications.

How long does it take to heal from plastic surgery? What are the precautions needed during this stage?
Any wound in the body takes 2-3 weeks to heal completely. In cases like rhinoplasty, a plaster is applied on the nose for complete revival. Similar procedures follow for different parts of the body. Depending on the actual procedure involved, the resolution of swelling, bruising, and healing period may vary. It is important to follow the instructions and aftercare as explained by the doctor.

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